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Teaching bite inhibition in older dog

March 11th, 2005, 11:12 AM
How long should this take? We have had Odin for 4 weeks now, and it doesn't seem to be getting actually seems to be getting worse.
We have been doing the "ouch" in a loud voice and stopping all attention. Three trys, and then it's a time out. Most of the time after a time out, he is fine.

Problem the beginning, he would come up to us and sit by us, then he would try and climb on us, lick us, then he would start to nip. I figure he was probably taken from his mom too early, and didn't learn proper bite inhibition. At that point, I get up, walk away, do something else for a few minutes and ignore him.

Now..he is starting to lunge at us if we are standing, after we get up if he tries to bite. I call it the "devil dog" look because his ears are back, and his mouth is open, tongue out...panting.... Last night, he was acting all nice, then started to want to bite, I got up, walked away, and he lunged for my leg! He didn't get me, as I immediately made him sit. Was that a bad thing? Was I reinforcing his behaviour by paying attention to him by asking him to sit? I thought it would be a good thing, maybe distracting him from what he was doing.

We know it's not an agressive bite, because if he does get a hold of one of our hands, he just likes to suck on our fingers. I don't like that he likes to do this, but the foster aparently didn't think it was an issue, and let him do it all the time.

Now..should we just let him have our fingers and suck on them? Maybe it's a comforting thing for him? If we don't let him, he keeps trying to bite...and I don't want him to bite someone!

It's almost as if he doesn't know how to get our attention without his mouth. It's like he is exploring with his mouth still, even though he is older than a year already. This is why we have agreed to not allow him in the bedroom, because I don't want him to wake us up by biting us, as I don't think he knows any other way.

March 11th, 2005, 11:22 AM
please take this with a huge grain of salt as I am no where near pretending to be an experienced trainer, but what always worked with my mastiffs (and so far its only been 3) was not the time-out/ignore. As soon as their mouth came anywhere near my hand/foot/cuff/hem I would yip like a squished puppy - really high pitched and distressed sounding. This would cause the dog to back off and give me a very puzzled stare. They would usually wait for some time before they tried again and again I would do the yip-yip. It didn't take very long for them to figure out what was causing my distress.

But I don't know how well it would work with your Odin. And TheBoy tried it and couldn't get a high enough sound -- the dogs just thought he was playing.

March 11th, 2005, 11:56 AM
Thanks for the reply. We have been doing that as well as the walk away/ignore. It doesn't seem to be helping. Loud noises don't distract him that well anymore....

We had class one of training this week, and she confirmed we are doing it all right, and to report back in two weeks (week off for March Break) during class two to see if any progress is being made. If not, and because he has a couple of issues, we may have to consider one on one behavioural consultations. At least the trainer we are going to comes highly recommended.

I guess all we can do is what we are doing now.

Personally, I think it's because he doesn't know how to interact with us. I'm kinda at a loss for games, as he doesn't do tug-o-war or fetch. We play "Odin, where are you" and he likes that. We hide in a room, and call him, and when he finds us, he gets a treat. It only works with two people though, so one can distract him while the other hides.

March 11th, 2005, 12:58 PM
Duke went through a phase, the adolescent that he is, where when I went to the back door to let him out he would run from the kitchen to where I was at the back door jump up (all 50 lbs of him) and try and grab my hand or my arm. He never bit down but you could tell he was trying to hold. I would tell him to sit and he would ignore me and bark. I was never sure if he thought this was just a good game or if he was challenging. It happened mostly in the evening. (FRAP time) Anyway, I was very firm. I insisted he sit, if he wouldn't I put him in a sit. I would look him firmly in the eye and say "no" and wait for his excited ears to go back in the resting/calm position. He doesn't do it anymore. You can actually see him restrain himself when he is in an excited state. Now, when I let him out the back, he occassionally still comes running and just short of reaching me sits himself and says something like "humph".

Why doesn't Odin fetch?

March 11th, 2005, 01:18 PM
I tried the ignore/walk away..the loud 'yip' .... catching his mouth and pushing on his tongue..... pup still was too mouthy.. So, instead of all those things that weren't working fast enough for me.. I made absolutly sure he understood NO..... and around here I don't use that often..but, when I do everyone knows it means "God and all of heaven are about to come down upon your head unless you stop!" So, I tell him NO! I pretend my hand is that of a 3 month old human baby.... What would I do then if I saw his teeth on that?! I react the same way now... and it really seems to be working for him... He knows No means stop dead in your tracks right this minute! So, i guess what i'm saying is that you have to use what works for you both. Some puppies just don't get the hint with the yelping.... If he never learned it with his litter, and he's past 16 weeks of age... you probably won't teach him it now.

March 11th, 2005, 01:43 PM
Dukie! You described exactly what Odin does!! Happens mostly in the evening, he bites down but not hard...and he does think it's a little like a game.

maybe it's a "teen" thing as he is between 1 and 2 years the vet thinks.

I think Odin just takes longer to calm he gets overly hyper. He is also stubborn. If I ask him to do take a good 10 seconds sometimes for him to do it. He will look at me and be like "do you really want me to do it?? Are you sure?".

I've been home for three weeks until my new job starts, so I think it happens when archie gets home for work, as he gets really excited he's home. I have been trying to get out of their way at night, as I think it needs to be Archie's time with the dog for bonding etc.

I think I need Archie to come and read some of the posts here. He needs to learn a little more about training. He needs to be more consistent and firm.

March 11th, 2005, 02:29 PM
I suggest you buy a book by Cheryl Smith, "Biting, Barking, Lunging, Growling ... Retraining An Anxious Fearful Dog Without Intimidation" I was just at a seminar and was VERY impressed with her technique, I can't explain it well enough to tell you but I would get this book and use her technique, you will be VERY happy.

Not sure where you can get it, I know her website is:

Lucky Rescue
March 11th, 2005, 02:37 PM
The only experience I've had with older dogs nipping was when I fostered a greyhound, who, when he was excited about going for a walk, would start nipping my legs with his small front teeth. This REALLY hurt.

I would SCREAM "OWWW-OWWWWW-OWWWWWW!!!!!" and that shocked him so much he would stop. I didn't look at him or touch him while I did this. When he stopped, I would then tell him he was good (quietly) and put his leash on and out the door. He soon learned that not nipping got much better results.

Of course, you have a bulldog with great determination, stubborness, and bred never to quit, and it could take longer and you will have to be much firmer and more emphatic than I had to be with a greyhound, especially since Odin is not a little puppy.

I think it's time to get out the can opener....:p

March 11th, 2005, 03:06 PM
ROFLMAO@ campbells soup :D

I thought about suggesting that method.. but, figured in here it might just start another tirade. :rolleyes: Can't have that :cool:

March 11th, 2005, 03:13 PM
Hahah. I love that pic!!

Yeah..I figured it might take a while. He really is set in his ways, and the fosters had him for 5 months and didn't try to change any of them, and didn't do any training.

In the last 4 weeks he has learned down, roll over (new one) paw, other paw, and stay. So he's still happy to learn, just not to change.

Oh least I still have a few more days before my new job starts to do some training.

March 12th, 2005, 02:42 PM
I tried the high pitched yip thing with my pitbull pup when she was young, and it only made things worse. Then she thought it was really time to play. What worked with her is a loud, very low, NO! I guess this told her that as the boss I'm saying this is not acceptable. And if she wouldn't listen, she would go into her crate until she calmed down. Not as punishment, but just to keep her from continuing her playful biting fit.

And I would definitely not let him have any contact, his mouth to human skin. In order to be consistent, putting people's hands or fingers in his mouth has to be off limits totally.

March 12th, 2005, 10:19 PM
I'm glad you posted this. I have a 9 wk old beagle and of course she nips when she plays with us. I posted on the general forum about it and was debating whether I should break her of it now or if she would just outgrow it. I've had dogs before and they all outgrew it and never bit or nipped anyone after they grew out of the puppy stage. But I see that some dogs don't so I will work on breaking her from it. She has already learned NO. When she bites I hold her mouth shut and tell her no. Tonight she started it with my 7 month old and I told her no and she backed off.

March 12th, 2005, 10:57 PM
Personally, I think it's because he doesn't know how to interact with us. I'm kinda at a loss for games, as he doesn't do tug-o-war or fetch. We play "Odin, where are you" and he likes that. We hide in a room, and call him, and when he finds us, he gets a treat. It only works with two people though, so one can distract him while the other hides.

When the doggy learns the stay command, you'll be able to play this with only one human. My dad used to play it with our dobie. Only he'd sneak around so it was a harder challenge for the doggy.